Film studios are certainly mining their vaults of pre-existing characters as they have decided to go ahead and give another beloved character a backstory prequel film.
This time it is the flamboyant, chocolate-loving creation of Roald Dahl, Willy Wonka, with the movie aptly titled Wonka. The movie will explore the titular character’s early years prior to owning his fantastical chocolate factory and is set to be a musical fantasy, which is one of the few facts we have about it, as Warner Bros. has been tight-lipped on what’s in store for the eccentric confectionary mogul.
The film is directed by Paul King, who also directed another iconic British literary character in Paddington, and the titular role is played by Timothèe Chalamet, who has been knocking them out of the park ever since his break-out role in Call Me By Your Name. Alongside Chalamet is a star-studded cast including Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins, Jim Carter, and Rowan Atkinson, though currently, it is unknown what any of their roles are.
Whilst promoting her current film Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Wonka star Natasha Rothwell gave Screen Rant just a little hint as to what we might expect from the movie.
I can’t give away anything. I feel like I signed everything away to do it. But I had so much fun. I literally got back a few weeks ago from shooting in London. I was there for five months and I just think audiences are going to enjoy it. I think I’m drawn to stories, especially post the height and peak of the pandemic that spread goodness and love and I think that’s at the heart of both Sonic and of Wonka.
Production for Wonka started late last year and has just wrapped earlier this year with locations throughout the U.K. including Bath, Lyme Regis, and Oxford. Images from the set show a somewhat drabber Wonka than previous iterations, certainly that of Tim Burton’s vision, as Chalamet sports muted Victorian garments, though the cane and top hat are of course still present. Perhaps Wonka’s wardrobe will brighten up as he journeys to become the wacky chocolate connoisseur who we know and love.
Many audiences goers will be seeking out stories that “spread goodness and love” post-pandemic (please, please let this be the end in sight) as we escape from the last few grueling years, and hopefully Rothwell is correct and Wonka can deliver us just that. The film has faced a few release date setbacks and has been moved from its initial release in March 2023 to December 15, 2023, just in time for Christmas.